Why Freedom of Speech Isn't So Popular in Sports

Marisa ScolamieroAnalyst IJanuary 28, 2009

Every citizen in the United States is entitled to free speech, meaning they reserve the right to express themselves, and their opinions—right?

Wrong—it doesn't matter.

Yet, in sports, speaking one's mind isn't necessarily well-received. There are many who don't take kindly to teammates, managers, and coaches writing tell-all books revealing sometimes the dark secrets behind locker room doors. Sports teams become like a family and to put family secrets in print is considered to be somewhat disloyal.

There are others who feel that the fans have the right to know everything. The fans put out the money for tickets, etc, and help pay player salaries. Therefore, they should know the whole truth about their team.

Next week, Joe Torre's book, The Yankee Years, which was co-written by Sports Illustrated's Tom Verducci, is already causing trouble and it hasn't even hit the shelves yet.

Apparently, Torre, who got the job managing the Dodgers in 2008 after 12 years with the Yankees, ripped A-Rod, Brian Cashman, and the Yankees in his book. He supposedly reveals that many of the Yankee players referred to Rodriguez as "A-Fraud" and a diva.

The book also reveals a strained relationship with Brian Cashman, who was always thought to be an ally of Torre's.

Torre discusses the hot and cold relationship with owner George Steinbrenner, which was no secret to the press or the fans.

So the question is, was Torre wrong for writing this book?

Technically, no, he was completely within his rights to put together this book, and most likely the tone of the book is not bitter or condescending. That's just not Torre's way. However, that doesn't mean it won't cause problems anyway.

Since A-Rod has been highlighted as a part of the book already, there is no doubt that at the start of spring training, Rodriguez will get questions on how what was written in Torre's book will effect him.

All Yankee fans know that if Rodriguez has anything surrounding him that could potentially mess with his head, God knows how he will deal with it on the field.

I don't believe that Torre's intention was to try and cause problems for any of the current Yankees. Unlike Jose Canseco, who had little to no regard for the players he named in his book about steroids, Torre unlikely said anything with the intention of hurting others.

I haven't read the book yet, so I can only speculate, but he was most likely just expressing his point of view from the position of the manager.

There are some that will say that Torre has violated the sacred code of the clubhouse by talking about things that most people don't know about. Others will say that he is only looking to gain more attention by publishing a book such as this one.

Let's be honest, Torre doesn't need the money or the recognition. This book is not about either of those things. This is about him expressing his experiences after twelve years at the helm of the most recognizable sports franchise in the world.

He has earned the right to say what he wants after 12 straight postseason appearances, six World Series appearances and four wins (over a five-year span).

He has also earned the right after the Yankees offered him that disrespectful contract after last season with incentives based on how far the team advanced in the playoffs. Not to mention the last game at Yankee Stadium he wasn't even mentioned.

This is a guy who had a lot to do with so many of the great moments at Yankee Stadium for the past decade or so.

Maybe he just wants to tell his side of everything since there always are two sides to every story. Maybe he feels like it's up to him to let people in on many truths that they aren't aware of. Or maybe he just wanted something else to attach his name to.

Either way, Torre deserves the benefit of the doubt and people should pick up the book and actually read it before they say he was out of line.